The changes were so subtle that at first, she didn't notice how much was different since they walked down the aisle a year ago. He did extra hours at work, came home every night and would never miss the two most important kisses of her day; as soon as they woke up and immediately when they saw each other after work. Their vows were listed on the refrigerator and there were so many times when she would just gaze at how far they’d come since their initial blind date. It was far from love at first sight and more like two half empty cups that were filled at the right time with each other’s flows. At that time, both of their cups were rapidly evaporating, so their presence in each other's lives quenched their thirsts.
Salmon, rice and broccoli was his favorite meal, so she would time it so that the butter would begin melting by the time he finished with his shower. She would rotate between the Atlantic, Pink and Sockeye Salmon and Jasmine, Wild and Basmati Rice. Over time, she mastered how to make ten different combinations of his favorite meal. His joy was her top priority and since she was done with work by two everyday, she had more than enough time to catch up on errands, reading, and straightening up before she would begin preparing their dinner at about six o’clock every evening. The discussion that knocked over the first domino took place on a Thursday after she finally received a long overdue promotion.
“So are you going to accept it babe?”
Erica was slightly thrown off with his question. Hadn’t he heard how many times she mentioned the lack of appreciation the company showed for the most tenured employees. She thought, I know he had better support the one thing I have been working towards in these last five years with the firm. Instead of answering she wanted to understand the source of his curiosity.
“What do you think I should do?”
Jonathan finished chewing a forkful of glazed salmon and answered. “How will this impact our big picture? I think…..as far as our schedules go, we have a great thing going and don’t know how this will affect it. What type of hours will you do if you accept?”
Erica was stumped. Our schedules? We have such a great thing going? By this point of the conversation, she was almost certain that his response had nothing to do with her future, her growth in the company and her future aspirations. She knew the hours were definitely a hinderance through his perspective so Erica started off with the benefits.
“This position would come with a $30,000 per year increase in salary, I would be responsible for one hundred and fifty people instead of ten and an extra week of paid vacation..so three weeks instead of two. Instead of nine to two, seven to five would be my new hours.”
“Sounds like we would have to make a lot of uncomfortable adjustments. $30,000 for 240 more hours a year and the headache of all of those people. Doesn’t sound worth it to me.” Jonathan was an engineer and math wizard. The speed at which he calculated equations was one of the first things that attracted her to him, but in this moment, his lack of concern or acknowledgement of her initial excitement was a huge red flag. Erica told him several times that she was ready to move up within her company because she loved the culture, people, and company mission.
“Thank you for letting me know how you feel about my promotion opportunity.”
Jonathan seemed oblivious to her sarcastic reply. “I appreciate you telling me. It takes a wise woman to get feedback from her man before making a huge decision like that. Nothing can stop us if we continue to make our biggest decisions together as a team.”
Two years after their divorce was finalized is when Erica had the time to reflect and appreciate the power of true healing. From the day she accepted the first of four promotions, the quality of their marriage lowered as she realized that her teammate was only out for himself. Without that promotion and her schedule changes, would his true motives have ever surfaced? If so, how much longer would it have taken for her to see them? Erica's understanding of the word, team, allowed her to make a life adjustment that success usually teaches us: certain people are only capable of being on the life train temporarily. The journey must continue...with or without them!
This week I am going to let the story do the teaching without any of my input. What were the signs in their conversation that influenced Erica’s choice down the line? Was she overreacting? What can we learn about teamwork from their situation? Share your thoughts below? You may end up saving a marriage.